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Baguio’s Iron Lady: A Story of Love, Advocacy, and Dismay.

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Cecilia Elena Cariño Afable, known to many Baguio folks as “Auntie Cecile”, was born on Nov. 11, 1918 to the humble family of Josefa Cariño and Teruji Okubo, a Japanese carpenter who came to Baguio to help build Kennon Road. Her mother was the daughter of the great Ibaloi chieftain and local hero, Mateo Cariño. Auntie Cecile was the only girl of five children of Josefa. Her two brothers were Policarpio and Bernardo, both deceased, and her half-brothers were Oseo and Sinai Hamada from Josefa’s earlier marriage to the late Reukitse Hamada. A couple of years after the end of WWII, Cecile and her brothers, Sinai and Oseo, established the Baguio Midland Courier which was to become the most widely read and distributed local newspaper in the City and its neighboring municipalities to date.Her passion for writing found its home in her column, “In and Out of Baguio”, which gained popularity for her uncompromising, straightforward, and oftentimes tough commentaries on individuals and institution

Cordillera Autonomy and the “Itunu Mi” Dilemma.

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“Otonomi kayo nga otonomi, baka awan tun ti ituno mi”. Some few years ago, this pun has been a common banter among folks in the barrios when the issue on regional autonomy manages to surface in discussions, speeches, and even in roundpost-induced debates. While it seems like a lame attempt at humor, such satire is actually pregnant with meaning if viewed from a different stand point. The most obvious is that Cordillerans are worried about the fate of the local economy and the effects on their traditional way of life if the region will be under an autonomous government. Since its inception in the 1987 constitution, the quest for regional autonomy for the Cordillera has failed twice in two plebiscites and until now, debates still ensue as to whether or not autonomy is truly beneficial to the different localities comprising the region. Sadly in the ongoing exchange of views, participation seems to be limited to leaders, politicians, business entities, and those who are in the upper stra

Proposed "Mallification" of the Baguio Public Market: The Death of a Heritage

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The Baguio Public Market is one of the city’s most beloved and most visited heritage sites for both tourists and locals alike. Since its establishment as the center of commerce, it has been a symbol of Baguio’s cultural richness embedded in trade and economic activity. Having visited other public markets in the country, we all can surely vouch for the distinctive ambiance and special vibrancy that makes this particular market stand out from the rest. The sweet scent of freshly harvested Benguet vegetables, the calming aroma of freshly ground Cordilleran coffee, and the delightful sight of native Igorot craftsmanship are just some of the features that keep people coming back. Currently, there is a growing consensus among local folks that the proposed Government-Private partnership for the development of the City Market is detrimental to Baguio’s ethnic identity and it poses a threat to small scale businesses, vendors, and even buyers who have been trading there throughout the years. T

Once Upon a Time in La Trinidad: Chronicles of Genuine Igorot Leadership Traits

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With the growing disgust at the apparent descent of Benguet politics into dirty waters, perhaps it would be a breath of fresh air to look back at the glory days when honesty, integrity, and sincerity were the key features of public service. Let us summon the pages of history to remind us of who and what we are as a people and maybe one day soon, our dream of a better Benguet (Baguio and La Trinidad included) will be within our grasp. The Philippine insurrection of 1896 against the Spaniards reached Benguet by the midyear of 1899. The Katipunan came to Benguet, united the Ibalois, looted and burned Spanish buildings at the Commandancia and established the Benguet Province under the Government Republic of the Philippines. Through the leadership of Juan “Ora” Cariño, Mateo Carantes and Piraso, the Ibalois rose at 500 strong men. With 500 other Katipuneros, they looted and burned the Commandancia. The last Commandante fled for Bontoc. The resistance ensued until Spain ceded the Philippin

An Igorot Displacement Story: Busting the Claim that the Ibalois Sold Baguio

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  It is quite ironic that the Igorots of Baguio, particularly the original Ibaloi settlers, are now considered to be part of the minority sector in the city. Compared to the other towns in the Cordillera region, Baguio seemed to have lost its “kaigorotan” sense of identity. Its unique heritage is slowly fading with the influx of local immigrants, tourists, and aggressive development. Even in terms of leadership, the City has been run mostly by “outsiders” and affluent immigrant families coming from other parts of the country. Since it was chartered, there were only about three Igorots who were lucky enough to sit as City Mayor out of the twenty-seven from 1909 to the present. Even most streets, roads, and other notable sites were named after foreign personalities and other Filipino political families prominent during the American and Commonwealth periods. While it is but proper to give due recognition to the people who were instrumental to the rise of Baguio as one of the country’s

American Judge Paid Lifelong Tribute to the Igorots’ Bravery during World War II

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  American Forces in Luzon during World War 2. In my continuing quest to help reshape public perception on the true nature and identity of the Igorots, I have been writing about chronicled accounts of Igorot patriotism and gallantry that were somehow left out of mainstream literature. It is so disheartening to learn that while highly respected personalities around the world have high praises and respect for our culture and its significant contributions in many aspects of our growth as a nation, many of our countrymen still harbor disparaging notions when referring to our ethnicity. With these stories I attempt to retell in my humble little way, I hope that our role in history will be justly put in place and our heritage be proudly cherished not only in our own backyards but by the entire Filipino people. In an article by Louise Steinman (Repaying a Debt Never Forgotten) published by the Los Angeles Times on January 2, 1997, the Igorots’ stunning audacity during World War II was said

The Cariño Doctrine: An Igorot Legacy for All the Indigenous Peoples of the World

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Much of Baguio as we know today belonged to an Ibaloi herdsman by the name of Mateo Cariño. This includes the areas covering John Hay, Rizal Park, and other domains inside the current Central Business district and some in the City’s outskirts.   The land was a Rancheria known as “Kafagway” which served as the residence of the Cariño clan and the rest of the Ibaloi community. Shortly after the Treaty of Paris which ended Spain’s dominion over the Philippines, the Americans came up to Baguio and took possession of land disregarding any claim of ownership from its settlers. Among the properties taken were those belonging to Cariño as a form of retaliation for providing refuge to Emilio Aguinaldo as he was being pursued by the Americans. On the 23d of June 1903, Cariño filed a petition in the Court of Land Registration praying that there be granted to him title to a vast tract of land consisting of 146 hectares situated in the town of Baguio, Province of Benguet, together with a house